Jepson Leadership Forum History

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  • Masculinity in a Changing World


    The last few decades have seen rapid changes in gender relations and norms—in the household, in the workforce, and in government. The 2023-24 Jepson Leadership Forum invites speakers to discuss masculinity in the context of these recent cultural changes. 

    Specific topics include the role of hormones in gender identity and behavior, status competition and violence, challenges facing men as a result of the changing nature of the family and the economy, Black masculinity in the United States, and the past and future of patriarchy globally.

    Sept. 12, 2023
    Richard V. Reeves, President of the American Institute for Boys and Men and author of Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It
    Solving the Crisis of Our Boys and Men
    Watch the presentation video. Watch the Take 5 video. Listen to the audio.

    Oct. 5, 2023
    Rob Henderson, Social psychologist; U.S. Air Force veteran; author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe; and creator and editor of Rob Henderson’s Newsletter, which has more than 40,000 subscribers
    Understanding the Young Male Syndrome
    Watch the presentation video. Watch the Take 5 video. Listen to the audio.

    Nov. 14, 2023
    David Benatar
    Professor of philosophy and director of the Bioethics Centre at the University of Cape Town and author of books, including The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys
    The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys

    Jan. 22, 2024
    Carole Hooven
    Author of T: The Story of Testosterone; former lecturer and co-director of Undergraduate Studies, Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology; currently a lab associate in the Harvard University Department of Psychology and a non-resident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
    The Non-Toxic Nature of Masculinity
    Watch the presentation video. Watch the Take 5 video. Listen to the audio.

    Feb. 13, 2024
    Charles Blow
    New York Times columnist, MSNBC political analyst, anchor of PRIME with Charles Blow on the Black News Channel, and author of Fire Shut Up in My Bones and The Devil You Know
    Black Masculinity
    Watch the presentation video. Watch the Take 5 video. Listen to the audio.

    March 5, 2024
    Alice Evans
    Senior lecturer at King’s College London and author of the forthcoming book The Great Gender Divergence
    Ten Thousand Years of Patriarchy
    Watch the presentation video.

  • Leadership Lessons Learned: Finding Our Way on the Heels of Failure


    The 2022-23 Jepson Leadership Forum focuses on past and present failures in leadership and followership by shining a spotlight on times where we could – and should – have done better.

    We invite scholars, experts, and activists to reflect on what went wrong in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, climate change, the U.S. COVID-19 response, historical memory and racism, and higher education crises—and how to do better going forward.

    Sept. 14, 2022
    Clint Smith, Staff writer at The Atlantic and author of New York Times best-selling book "How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America"
    Historical Memory and Racism
    Take 5 video.         

    Oct. 24, 2022
    Alice Dreger, Journalist, historian, and author of "Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science," a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice
    Free Speech and Open Inquiry in Higher Education
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Nov. 30, 2022
    Congressman Seth Moulton, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., former Marine Corps captain     
    U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan
    Presentation video

    Jan. 19, 2023 
    Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Director of Climate Policy, Roosevelt Institute
    Climate Change
    Presentation video.   

    Feb. 15, 2023 
    Alex Tabarrok, Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and professor of economics at George Mason University
    U.S. COVID-19 Response
    Presentation video.  

  • Moving People: The Perils and Promise of Nationalism


    The 2021-22 Jepson Leadership Forum invites scholars, activists, and experts to discuss the moral, ethical, and legal implications of global migration and asylum. Join us as we explore how leaders and communities navigate the economic, social, and cultural transformations of a world with – and without – borders and walls.

    Sept. 13, 2021
    Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Perry World House Professor of Practice of Law and Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, former Jordanian Ambassador to the United States
    The Promise of Global Human Rights
    Presentation video.

    Oct. 19, 2021
    Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and New York Times best-selling author
    The Science and Ethics of Immigration
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Jan. 27, 2022
    S. James Anaya, University Distinguished Professor and Nicholas Doman Professor of International Law, University of Colorado, Boulder
    What International Law Has to Say About Indigenous Peoples: Does it Matter?
    Presentation video.  

    March 15, 2022
    Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times best-selling author, Senior Fellow, Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, and staff writer at The Atlantic
    Autocracy and Democracy in an Era of Nationalism
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    March 24, 2022 
    Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy, Yale University
    Human Dignity, Democracy, and Borders: What We Owe Refugees
    Presentation video


  • Digital Dystopias: Truth and Representation in the Internet Age


    The 2019-20 Jepson Leadership Forum examines the benefits, pitfalls, and challenges facing the next generation as it navigates an online world with global influence on politics, economics, and society. Experts in the fields of technology, journalism, politics, and education will share their thoughts on how an increasingly powerful digital space affects both leadership and followership.

    Sept. 17, 2019
    Katie Hafner, Journalist, frequent contributor to The New York Times, and author
    The Origins of the Internet
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Oct. 7, 2019
    Derek Thompson, Staff writer at The Atlantic, founder and host of the podcast "Crazy/Genius," and news analyst at National Public Radio
    Economics and Influence in Digital Spaces
    Take 5 video.

    Nov. 19, 2019
    Yasha Levine, Russian-American investigative journalist and author
    The Internet as a Weapon
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Feb. 13, 2020
    Virginia Eubanks, Associate professor of political science at the University at Albany - State University of New York
    Algorithms, Austerity, and Inequality
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    March 25, 2020
    André Brock, Associate professor, School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology
    Racial Representation in Technoculture
    *This presentation was postponed due to the global pandemic.

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion.

  • Does Democracy Work?


    Does Democracy Work? Or are we setting ourselves up for failure? The 2018-19 Jepson Leadership Forum hosts politicians, political advisors, and experts on poverty, elections, and technology for a case study of American democracy. We’ll explore the good, bad, and ugly of U.S. politics and government as we ask the question "Does democracy actually work?"

    Oct. 25, 2018
    Peter Edelman, Professor of Constitutional Law and Poverty Law at Georgetown University
    How Democracy is Failing America’s Poor
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Nov. 28, 2018
    Levar Stoney, Mayor of the City of Richmond
    The Reality of Voter Disenfranchisement
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Dec. 4, 2018
    Blanche Wiesen Cook, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York
    Toward an Inclusive Democracy: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Legacy
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Jan. 22, 2019
    Zeynep Tufekci, Contributing Opinion Writer to The New York Times and UNC-Chapel Hill Associate Professor
    Democracy in the Age of Twitter, Facebook & YouTube
    Take 5 video.

    March 5, 2019
    Larry Bartels, May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science at Vanderbilt University
    Democracy for Realists
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    April 10, 2020
    Melody Barnes, Former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; Principal and Co-Founder of MB2 Solutions LLC, a domestic policy strategy and impact development firm
    Can We Make Our Democracy Work?
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion.

  • Vision and Division


    Since 1992, the Univeristy of Richmond Jepson School of Leadership Studies has explored how visionary leaders bring people together and drive change. The 25th anniversary Jepson Leadership Forum invites you to explore your own vision. Join us as we confront some of the most critical and divisive issues facing our world today -- from wealth and social inequality to terrorism -- and learn to analyze your information, express your opinions, and even change your mind.

    Sept. 18, 2017
    Roland G. Fryer Jr., Henry Lee Professor of Economics and Faculty Director, EDLabs at Harvard University
    Using Economics to Solve Racial Inequality
    Take 5 video.

    Oct. 19, 2018
    Rukmini Callimachi, Award-winning foreigh correspondent for The New York Times
    Talking to Terrorists
    Presentation video.

    Nov. 16, 2017
    Dennis Whittle, Co-founder of Feedback Labs and GlobalGiving, the world’s first crodfunding and crowdsourcing website
    Listening as Leadership
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Jan. 29, 2018
    Robert D. Putnam, Harvard University professor and adviser to world leaders
    Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis
    Take 5 video.

    Feb. 21, 2018
    Jessica Valenti, Bestselling author and Guardian US columnist
    Why Feminism (Still) Matters
    Take 5 video.

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion.

  • Reconstruction and the Arc of Racial (In)Justice


    The 2016-17 Jepson Leadership Forum traces America’s long struggle for racial justice through slavery and civil war, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement and present day. Journey with us as we return to the setbacks and advances, successes and failures that shaped modern America.

    Sept. 15, 2016
    Annette Gordon-Reed, Harvard University historian and law professor whose research, among other things, explores the life of America’s third president
    Thomas Jefferson’s Intellectual and Ethical Understanding of Slavery
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Oct. 19, 2016
    Ira Berlin, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland with an expertise in southern and African-American history
    Slavery in North America Across Time and Place
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Nov. 15, 2016
    Eric Foner, Columbia University professor regarded as the leading authority on the Reconstruction Era in the United States
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    Jan. 24, 2017
    Isabel Wilkerson, Journalist and bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
    The Story of the Great Migration
    Take 5 video.

    Feb. 15, 2017
    Jamelle Bouie, Chief political correspondent for Slate and CBS News political analyst
    Twentieth Century Racial Discrimination and its Long-term Implications
    Take 5 video.

    March 21, 2017
    Thomas F. Jackson, Historian at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and American Civil Rights Movement scholar
    Embattled Leader, Contested Icon
    Presentation video. Take 5 video.

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion.

  • The Fix: Health, Science, and the Future


    The 2015-16 Jepson Leadership Forum takes on the big questions about human health and well-being: the challenges of global health and poverty, genetics and individual decision making, and the media’s role in public health. We invite you to imagine what’s possible and learn how to think more sharply, live more fully, and do more good. 

    Sept. 22, 2015
    Maria Konnikova, Psychologist, bestselling author, and contributing writer for The New Yorker online
    How to Make Smarter Choices
    A conversation with Maria Konnikova. 

    Oct. 29, 2015
    Daniel Lieberman, Paleoanthropologist at Harvard University, whose research focuses on the look and function of the human body
    Is Exercise the Best Medicine?
    Presentation video. A conversation with Daniel Lieberman. 

    Nov. 12, 2015
    Peter Singer, Princeton University professor who has been called the world’s most influential living philosopher
    How To Do the Most Good
    Presentation video. A conversation with Peter Singer. 

    Jan. 28, 2016
    James Hamblin, Writer and senior editor at The Atlantic and host of the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk
    Scientific Storytelling: Deconstructing the Media’s Critical Role in Public Health
    A conversation with James Hamblin. 

    Feb. 24, 2017
    Nina Munk, Vanity Fair contributing editor and author of The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty
    The Perils of Good Intentions

    April 7, 2017
    Wendy Chung, Clinical and molecular geneticist at Columbia University who studies genetic forms of autism
    Is the Future of Medicine in our DNA?
    Presentation video. A conversation with Wendy Chung. 

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion. 

  • Into the Fray: Global Perspectives on Conflict


    Humans are capable of living together harmoniously, but inevitably comfortable collaborations give way to conflict when we find the actions or ideas of others unacceptable. The 2014-15 Jepson Leadership Forum goes into the fray and examines conflict across contexts, seeking fresh perspectives on the fights, battles, disputes, confrontations, and arguments that arise between warring nations, among factions within society and organizations, and between those seeking positive social change—even within ourselves. 

    Sept. 30, 2014
    Robert Thurman, Buddist scholar
    Conflict Between and Within: A Buddhist Perspective
    A conversation with Robert Thurman.

    Oct. 21, 2014
    Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert (USMC)
    Guantánamo: When Command and the Constitution Collide
    Presentation video. A conversation with Maj. Gen. Lehnert.

    Nov. 13, 2014
    Robert J. Norrell, Award-winning historian
    Souls of Black Leaders: The Rival Strategies of Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois
    Presentation video. A conversation with Robert J. Norrell

    Jan. 26, 2015
    Polly Wiessner, Anthropologist
    Adapting to a Changing World
    Presentation video. A conversation with Polly Wiessner.

    March 18, 2015
    Dar Williams, Singer-songwriter
    Music Movements in Capitalistic Democracy
    Presentation video. A conversation with Dar Williams. 

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion. 

  • Culture Shock: The ART of Leading Society


    Leadership isn’t confined to the political realm or the executive suite. Sometimes is happens in a recording studio, on stage, or behind the lens of a camera. The 2013-14 Jepson Leadership Forum explores how we influence culture and how culture influences us. It introduces audiences to visionary artists—leaders in their own right—and distinguished scholars who understand the power of culture to make us question our perceptions, shape society, and ultimately lead us in new directions. Even shock us. 

    Sept. 24, 2013
    Peter Guralnick, Biographer and music historian 
    Moving to a Different Beat: How a record producer changed music, shaped culture, and gave birth to rock ’n’ roll
    A conversation with Peter Guralnick.

    Oct. 23, 2013
    Giles Gunn, Cultural critic
    Bridging the Gap: Cultural differences in a globalized world 
    Presentation video. A conversation with Giles Gunn.

    Nov. 6, 2013
    Emily Nussbaum, Television critic and author
    From I Love Lucy to Breaking Bad: How ambitious modern television rebelled against formula by exploding it

    Feb. 24, 2014
    Moisés Kaufman, Tony- and Emmy-nominated director, founder and artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project
    Toward a New Theater: A conversation with The Laramie Project’s Moisés Kaufman
    Presentation video. A conversation with Moisés Kaufman.

    March 26, 2014
    Janet Jarman, Award-winning photographer and multimedia storyteller
    Framing the Conversation: Immigration and other contemporary social issues
    Presentation video. 

    April 11, 2014
    Abigail Washburn, Folk musician
    Special Musical Performance
    Performance video

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion. 


  • Groundbreakers: People, Ideas, and Innovations that Changed the World


    The University of Richmond’s Jepson School of Leadership Studies is a groundbreaking experiment in higher education. It opened in 1992 as the nation’s first school of leadership studies and is still leading the way. We’re celebrating 20 years by bringing you distinguished speakers, many of whom are groundbreakers in their own right, to discuss the people, ideas, and innovations that changed the world. 

    Sept. 19, 2012
    TIME magazine columnist Joe Klein offers a provocative look at the world’s leaders. The once-anonymous author of Primary Colors knows bold. 
    A conversation with Joe Klein.

    Nov. 14, 2012
    Strategic adviser to Fortune 500 companies, Frans Johansson, discusses groundbreaking innovation and lets you in on the secret of harnessing great ideas. 

    Jan. 23, 2013
    Curt Tofteland, creator of the Shakespeare Behind Bars program, is breaking barriers with the nation’s first program that uses Shakespeare to build community with the incarcerated. All the world’s a stage. 

    Feb. 27, 2013
    Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted nuclear historian Richard Rhodes discusses Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. 

    April 15, 2013
    The former president of Duke University and the first woman president of both a woman’s college and a major research university, political theorist Nan Keohane shares insights about leadership out front and discusses the behind-the-scenes leadership of social and political movements around the globe. 

    *With special thanks to media sponsor STYLE Weekly, Richmond’s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion. 


  • Game Changers: How Women Lead and Change the World


    The issues many women face in the 21st century are complex and diverse. Bias in the workplace. Work-life balance. Gender-based violence. Inadequate health care. The Jepson Leadership Forum’s 2011-12 season explores these and other critical issues as well as the ways in which women are courageously stepping up to the plate to lead change, combat stereotypes, fight oppression, and alter our perceptions of culture, race, global challenges—even ourselve. In short, the ways women are working to lead and change the world. Sports, work, politics, and poverty—all topics are fair game. 

    Sept. 22, 2011
    CHANGING THE GAME: Reflections On Life On and Off the Court
    C. Vivian Stringer—Women’s college basketball coach, best-selling author
    Basketball Hall of Fame inductee C. Vivian Stringer reflects on overcoming personal and professional challenges, mentoring young women, and leading three different teams to the NCAA Final Four. Cosponsored by University of Richmond Athletics. 
    A conversation with C. Vivian Stringer.

    Nov. 9, 2011
    CHANGING THE WORLD: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
    Sheryl WuDunn—Author, Pulitzer Prize winner
    Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," describes the issues facing women around the world and how empowering women can aid in the fight against global poverty.
    Cosponsored by One Book, One Campus. 
    Presentation video. A conversation with Sheryl WuDunn.

    Jan. 24, 2012
    CHANGING PERSPECTIVES: Rethinking Dr. King’s Legacy Through the Lens of Ella Baker
    Barbara Ransby—Activist and historian
    Historian and longtime political activist Barbara Ransby discusses her award-winning biograpy of civil rights activist Ella Baker. Ransby’s lecture is through the James MacGregor Burns Lecture in Leadership Studies and Biography.
    Cosponsored by the Department of History
    Presentation video. A conversation with Barbara Ransby.

    Feb. 9, 2012
    CHANGING MINDSETS: Wise Women Speak: Powerful Career Tips from Powerful Career Women
    Joan Williams—Advocate for gender equality
    Called "something of a rock star" in her field by The New York Times Magazine, gender and work-family issues expert Joan Williams shares the four basic patterns of gender bias and proven strategies successful women have used to combat bias. 
    Cosponsored by the University of Richmond School of Law.
    Presentation video. A conversation with Joan Williams. 

    Feb. 23, 2012
    CHANGING RHETORIC: What the Words of Presidents (and Presidential Candidates) Reveal About Them and About Us
    Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson—Critics of political discourse
    Award-winning communication scholars Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson discuss what presidential rhetoric and campaign communication can teach us about our changing electorate. 
    Sponsored by the Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies. Cosponsored by the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, Gottwald Speaker Board, Center for Civic Engagement, WGSS, WILL, and the Department of Political Science. 
    Presentation video.